I'm 41 and have been a Beatles fan for upwards of 25 years. I was aware of Fred Seaman's book but under a different name (if it's the same as Living on Borrowed Time) many years ago but never thought to read it. I had some murky idea of Seaman as a middle-aged sailor type figure who ran occasional errands for John and cashed in on his association. In fact, Fred Seaman was young and had more exposure to John Lennon the pop icon then the vast majority of his other associates ever did. Then you add in the fact that he had more exposure than anybody at a particularly esotetic time of John's life, bar Yoko. THEN you add in the fact that he lived with John and Yoko. And finally, and most importantly, Seaman is a not unlikeable and talented writer with an eye for detail. Cashing in? Lennon knew what he as doing and I believe Seaman when he says Lennon encouraged him to keep a journal. So I'm writing this review because I loved the book and realised it was probably the best Beatles related book I'd ever read. And though I read it two or three years ago I've just come across a reference to it in a Geoffrey Guiliano book on Lennon. He calls it 'self-serving'. (At which point I choke). Well, maybe it is, aren't most books? But it read as a fascinating fly-on-the-wall documentary of Lennon's final days.
I read this book years ago when it first came out and it really moved me. The author spent a very intense and intimate time with John Lennon before his death in 1980, and as an outsider looking in was honored to see things for what they were and not what the rumours made Lennon's life to be like. When Lennon died, Frederick Seaman was as devasted as could be expected of a friend and confidante. He had done what so many others were unable to, to be truly inspired and to be truly close to the man whom so many wished to be. This book lends the reader these personal memoirs so they too can know the truth. It's a witty, honest and very emotional journey and a must read for all who want to share in a real story about a well-loved man. A rare gem of a book.